Test-taking comes naturally for some and it’s a struggle for others. There are always people who will be better test takers than others, but that doesn’t mean you’re incapable of increasing your own test-taking abilities when it comes down to it. It might not come as naturally to you as it does to others, but you can make tests easier by utilizing these eight simple tips that make your testing abilities stronger and more efficient.
1- Be Prepared
If you’re going to be a better test taker, you need to be efficient and prepared. You cannot take your tests to the best of your ability if you’re showing up unprepared for class and for tests. Have the items you need, have them in a place you can find them, and get yourself organized. Being organized with your tangible assets can help you feel more organized in your mind. An organized mind is one with better test-taking abilities.
2- Take Notes that Work For You
If you’re someone who takes notes to study, take them in a manner that works for you. Don’t take notes the way you were taught or how someone else takes them. Do what works for you so you increase your capabilities of retaining information and learning what you need to know on test day.
3- Pay Attention
You cannot learn if you don’t pay attention. Not everyone learns much when they simply listen to their lessons, but it does help. You can learn more if you listen in class, take copious notes, and study. When you listen, your mind keeps track of what you hear, which is a learning technique.
4- Don’t Force Yourself
You cannot force yourself to be smarter, to learn more, or to do anything you cannot naturally do. If you’re going to learn and improve, it must be done by taking it easy on yourself. Placing too much pressure on yourself by forcing yourself to do something you can’t do only makes it more difficult. Relax, calm down, and don’t force yourself. Practice learning more and getting better.
5- Practice Relaxation Techniques
Take up yoga. Learn to stretch. Find a different way of relaxing in the middle of a test to calm your mind and clear your thoughts. You cannot test correctly if you are busy panicking, which is why practicing helpful relaxation techniques works. Start by stretching your toes, your arms, and your neck. You can take those moments to settle your mind and relax in the middle of a high-stress situation.
6- Ask Questions
If you have a question, ask the professor. You cannot learn if you don’t ask questions and learn from the answers. If you don’t like speaking up in class, email your teacher or ask after class. You cannot let a question go unasked, however, or you will never improve your testing skills.
7- Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breaths can change your life. Practice learning to deep belly breathe. You do this by allowing your stomach to expand all you inhale. Then hold your breath for a count of five, let it go, and let your stomach shrink as you exhale. Do this for a few moments to calm down and improve your focus in the middle of a test.
8- Get Sleep
Your brain simply cannot function properly if you don’t get enough sleep at night. Now is the time you need to get to bed early, wake up after you’ve slept 7 to 8 hours, and focus. Your mind needs this time to recharge and reset, and you get this kind of feeling after you get a good night of sleep. Staying up late to study is not going to benefit you if you don’t get enough sleep in the meantime.
Your body knows what it needs, but you also know you must practice certain things if you plan on getting better at testing. You can’t magically change your mind overnight to be a better tester, but you can employ these techniques and improve a bit over time. The more you do these things, the better you’ll do on tests. This builds confidence, and that helps you improve on future tests.